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An Inconvenient Truth (2006)  

Review: written 22nd March 2007

An effective wake up call, but not a solution

It is true what everyone has said - this is a compelling and very well told documentary outlining the disaster that is global warming. Al Gore definitely knows how to manipulate his audience. After over a thousand times giving this presentation, it is clear it has been finely honed to deliver a message he is clearly passionate about.

Does it stick to the facts and deliver a balanced and scientific message? Alas, no.

The argument is basically this.

Man = vastly increased CO2.

Vastly increased CO2 = vastly increased temperature.

Vastly increased temperature = earth pushed through a series of storms and disasters to an irreversible tipping point, beyond which we cannot save it.

There is no doubting man creates more CO2 and this affects the atmosphere in which we live. The link between CO2 and temperature rise is then shown.. however, leaps in logic are made. Does temperature rise perhaps increase CO2 and not the other way round? This is not explored.

Statistics can be very compelling and very misleading. Most of Gore's statistics are shown very cleverly but also often without scales and origins, blurring the line from science to propaganda.

What about beyond the science, and the movie as a movie? Well, it is not just the powerpoint presentation it is portrayed as. It also includes breaks in the data to show Gore's own history with the subject. This is clearly intended as an emotional manipulation as well as a break in `boring' statistics, but has the effect of bringing a political agenda at odds with what is being said, and I feel detracts from the overall argument.

At the end of the day, this is the most compelling case for conservation of resources seen in popular media by a prominent figure. I hope everyone sees it and it has an impact on their lifes and habits, as it is too important a subject to ignore. However, I also hope that is viewed with a scientific scepticism that makes people want to find out more about the facts.

This movie is in effect a wonderfully effective wake up call - an emotional punch to alert people to the ideas of conservation and the changes happening in our planet. However, it is not in itself a solution or a definitive answer, it is one sided and veers more to emotion than science.

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